Spiritual Wisdom

Spiritual wisdom is revealed from God, and points to His sovereignty. It’s misunderstood by the world, but empowers the lives of the believer.

Written by Pastor Len Flack on .

Notes

As we looked at 2:1-5 last week, we saw Paul, who was an Apostle or leader in the early church, writing to the Corinthians about the nature of the Gospel: the message of hope and salvation in Jesus Christ.

The church at Corinth is dealing with some serious issues – some real dysfunction – and before Paul gets too far into correcting those issues, he’s working to lay some ground work; the Gospel is the basis on which everything else will rest.

That was true for them, and it should be true for us, as well!

We’ve got a bit to cover this morning so, let’s pray, and we’ll get into it!

First, let’s review what we covered last week:

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (ESV) - 1 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

There were two key ideas that we drew from that text:

First, in sharing the message of the Gospel, Paul kept the focus on Jesus.

Second, He trusted God for the outcome.

Yes, there were times when he got nervous. There were times he faced opposition; sometimes even violent opposition. There were times when people thought his message was foolish. However, he didn’t give into the the pressure to engage based on worldly logic or philosophy, using entertainment or showmanship to spread the message of Christ.

Instead, he kept the truth of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus at the core of his ministry, as “foolish” and “offensive” as that appeared to some.

He focused NOT on the “wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

Spiritual Wisdom Revisited.

That brings us to our passage for this week. Take a look at verses 6-9:

1 Corinthians 2:6-9 (ESV) - 6 Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. 7 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”

In verses 1-5 Paul made a point of separating himself from the use of worldly wisdom and philosophy in his ministry. He was very clear that his METHOD of communication should never compromise the MESSAGE of God’s Grace.

Here, however, he clarifies something... The world may not understand the message of the Gospel, or recognize the testimony of God as wisdom... but to those who are MATURE – those saved by faith in Jesus, growing in the grace and knowledge of Him – to them Paul does work to impart or share a type of wisdom. It’s not the same thing as what the world expects, though.

Instead, it’s a fuller, more robust understanding of the Gospel. Of the nature of Christ’s person and work. Of the implications of our faith on our life and practice as disciples. Of how we’re meant to live, to glorify God, and enjoy him forever.

That’s the spiritual wisdom Paul is referring to here. It’s the message of God’s eternal purposes in salvation, not just initially as you come to faith in Jesus (although that is most certainly a huge part of it), but also as your faith is “worked out in fear in trembling.” As your faith is grown and applied to your life, increasing in holiness, day by day. And ultimately, it’s the hope that Christ will complete the good work he’s begun in us.

This type of spiritual wisdom has a number of characteristics which we can draw out of the text.

Spiritual wisdom comes from God, not man.

First, in verse 7 we see where this spiritual wisdom has it’s origin:

1 Corinthians 2:7 (ESV) - 7 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.

Spiritual wisdom comes from God, not man.

This ought not be any real surprise to you. After all, God created the heavens and the earth, and everything on it. He created you and me. And He sustains us, day by day.

If spiritual wisdom begins with the message of God’s eternal purposes in salvation – the message of how we can be forgiven of our sinful rebellion from God, and renewed in our relationship to Him through faith in Jesus – then it only makes sense that this wisdom has one source: it comes from Him.

It doesn’t come from man, but rather from God’s revelation of himself to mankind.

Spiritual wisdom was hidden, but is now revealed.

Also in verse 7, you’ll see that Paul says:

1 Corinthians 2:7 (ESV) - 7 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.

In some translations, such as the NLT and NASB, instead of the word “secret”, you might see the word “mystery” in that verse. This isn’t meant to indicate that the Gospel is mysterious or confusing, but rather that folks in the past didn’t see with as much clarity as we do now.

Spiritual wisdom was hidden, but is now revealed.

This helps to clarify the point we just looked at: There are many wise men and women in the world, but only when God reveals himself will be be found.

The New Testament reveals the message of Christ clearly. However, looking at the Old Testament, God’s redemptive purpose in Salvation is revealed less clearly, slowly at first and gradually more and more as God makes covenants with His people.

All throughout the Old Testament, we see signs and foreshadowing of the coming messiah; things which point to Christ... a secret and hidden wisdom. Yet it’s not until the New Testament and the coming of Christ that the fullness of the Gospel is revealed.

Spiritual wisdom points to God’s sovereignty.

Also in verse 7, you’ll see that Paul says:

1 Corinthians 2:7 (ESV) - 7 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.

God’s plan of salvation was set in motion before the foundations of the earth. He had a purpose in all of this, even before creation.

Spiritual wisdom points to God’s sovereignty.

The redemption of His people was not an afterthought for the Lord. He did not create us only to be surprised that we rebelled in sin. He didn’t have to go to “plan B” after the fall in the garden, and send Jesus to be our savior. Jesus’s sacrifice was always the plan.

All of his redemptive plan was preordained long before this age, which clearly points to God as being sovereign over all things. He is in control. He chose us as His children, blessing us with grace, mercy and compassion. And it’s all for His Glory, and ours as we are united with Him for eternity.

Spiritual wisdom is misunderstood by the world.

In verse 8, Paul says:

1 Corinthians 2:8 (ESV) - 8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

This is about as direct as it gets. The rulers of the age in Christ’s day didn’t understand spiritual wisdom – they didn’t understand the Gospel. If they had, they would have known the foolishness of putting to death God the Son.

Of course, they did crucify Him. And it was meant to be so, as part of God’s sovereign plan, for in carrying out that brutal punishment, Christ took our place and paid the debt of our sin.

Still, the way the worldly leaders acted in this instance shows that:

Spiritual wisdom is misunderstood by the world.

This hasn’t changed in 2000 years. We still have earthly, worldly leaders who claim to be wise, but fail to understand true spiritual wisdom. We have some people running right now who would presume to lead this country, yet have no problem with lying, theft, and the murder of millions of unborn children every year. There’s a candidate running who professes the name of Christ, yet openly admits they’ve never once asked for forgiveness, and says they’d have no problem ordering the nation’s military to target women and children.

Folks, I’m not going to tell you who to vote for. You need to use your own discernment for that, and base your choice on a Biblical worldview. But the kinds of folks I’ve mentioned are not what Paul would call mature, or spiritual. They may dabble in worldly wisdom, but they have yet to understand the wisdom of God.

The Bible does give us guidance, though.

1 Timothy 2:1-4 (ESV) - 1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

So let’s commit to pray for our leaders, and those who are in high positions, including the candidates. Because God desires all people to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth.

To grow and mature, and understand spiritual wisdom

Spiritual wisdom empowers our lives, today.

In verse 9, Paul says:

1 Corinthians 2:9 (ESV) - 9 But, as it is written, What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”

Often this verse is read at funerals, applied to heaven. And that’s good and right. However, there’s another more immediate application...

The verse comes as a quote from Isaiah 64:4, and in context has to do with Israel being in captivity, awaiting God’s deliverance. However, Paul applies it to the church. That is, each and every one of us, in the New Covenant family of Christ.

Spiritual wisdom empowers our lives, today.

It’s hard to imagine the goodness of what God has planned for us. Our hope is in Christ, and the spiritual wisdom of the Gospel reassures us that our future hope is dependent not upon any action of our own, but upon his finished work.

We are secured by faith in Him. No matter our situation; no matter what’s going on, we remain steadfast because of who HE is, not what’s going on in our lives.

That’s why those of us who are mature in Christ, growing in Him, can look at Romans 8:28 (And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.) and say “It’s a good day!” It may not look like a good day. It may not seem like a good day. It may not feel like a good day. In fact, things may be going off the rails.

BUT... If we trust in God and His plan, and we walk in spiritual wisdom, growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus, we will enjoy His blessings.

Conclusion

This morning, we’ve looked at a number of characteristics of the “spiritual wisdom” found in the Gospel and God’s redemptive purposes in salvation. My hope and prayer is that this has given you a little bit of a window into the bigger picture of what God is doing in the person and work of Christ.

Next week, Lord Willing, we’ll see how these things are applied to the follower of Christ, by the means of the Holy Spirit.

It’s through the work of the Spirit that we are given understanding and the ability to grow in wisdom and knowledge as we follow Christ. May we all seek to grow in Him!


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NCF was started in 1987 to minister to the growing population of Fort Drum and Jefferson County. Located in Carthage, just minutes away from Ft Drum, Lowville and Watertown, it is a blended congregation of local and military folks, single soldiers, young families and grandparents.

35206 Sayre Road
PO Box 823
Carthage NY 13619
315-493-3958
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